Congratulations to defending champion Alabama for landing a spot in the national BCS champ9ionship game, moving into the berth with a big victory over a presumably barely beatable Western Carolina juggernaut.
Yes, that is who the Tide, uh, rolled the week they were promoted following losses by Oregon and Kansas State to actually formidable conference opponents. The Southeastern Conference, which should do en masse mattress commercials featuring its non-league slate, cleverly placed a poll-protective weekend in place while the actual good conferences were battling in intense rivalry games or key late-in-the-year league showdowns.
Not only was Alabama-Western Carolina on the ‘save my poll spot” agenda, so was Florida-Jacksonville State, Auburn-Alabama A&M, Texas A&M-Sam Houston State, Georgia-Georgia Southern and South Carolina-Wofford.
Let’s not forget a few other points to be made, either. Many of the highly ranked SEC teams were helped there with victories over Arkansas, a thought to be power early on that stumbled badly, but the early advantages for its early SEC victors were left intact in rating concerns. Also, remember last year when an argument rose against Oklahoma State playing in the national championship game because it played in a conference (Big 12) that feature teams “like Texas A&M.” Then, when the same Texas A&M was thusly welcomed into the SEC and produced a Heisman Trophy winner, Johnny Manziel, while tagging Alabama with its only loss, it was suddenly deemed a Jen-You-Wine college football power and its new SEC opponents should be rewarded for placing the Aggies on their schedules.
SEC brags about defense. Starting NFL quarterbacks produced over the last 10 years include Jay Cutler, Matthew Stafford and Cam Newton. Southern Cal of the Pac 12 produced that many by itself with Carson Palmer, Matt Cassel and Mark Sanchez. The Big 12 produced that many just in the last year in Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden and Robert Griffin III. Maybe SEC defenses are just good at stopping lesser offensive personnel.
So, let’s do the national playoff and strip a bit of the power off the overly SEC-influenced BCS college bowl-loney were stuck with in trying to determine a national championship. Here’s a call again to shorten the regular college football season by a weekend or two and put in motion a 24-team national tournament at season’s end featuring the 11 conference champions in D-1 and filling out the bracket according to BCS considerations. The seeding will be by the BCS rankings because that is the system by which we operate now and will show how much change or tweaking in it might be needed.
First time through, the Rose Bowl, the oldest of the bowls, would be the championship game and set up the Orange and Sugar bowls as the semifinals. We can start this thing in late November and end around New Year’s Day like it should be.
The top eight seeds would receive round-one byes. Lower-profile bowls will be the host sites for the first couple of rounds. Progressive advancement through the bracket would match the lowest remaining seeds against the higher ones in the ensuing rounds so that superior seasons can be duly rewarded.
My bracket this year would feature conference champions Florida State (Atlantic Coast), Kansas State (Big 12), Louisville (Big East), Wisconsin (Big 10), Tulas (USA), Northern Illinois (Mid-American), Boise State (Mountain West), Stanford (Pacific 12), Alabama (Southeastern), Arkansas State (Sun Belt) and Utah State (Western Athletic) with automatic berths. The at-larges would go in order of rankings.
See how many empty seats are at bowl game sties this month and then think whether or not matchups about to be proposed here would fill the stadiums. Television revenues would be of galactic proportions. Member colleges would all benefit through the NCAA dispersals.
This year’s byes would go to Notre Dame, Alabama, Florida, Oregon, Kansas State, Stanford, Georgia and Louisiana State, according to the blueprint. First-round games would be played in the Little Caesar’s, Military, Independence, Russell Athletic, Reinecke Car Care, Armed Forces, Fight Hunger and Pinstripe bowls. The pairings would be Texas A&M-Arkansas State, South Carolina-Tulsa, Oklahoma-Wisconsin, Florida State-Utah State, Oregon State-Louisville, Clemson-Boise State, Northern Illinois-Michigan and Nebraska-UCLA.
The top eight seeds mentioned before would then await first-round winners in the second-round games, at the Belk, Champs, New Mexico, Potato, Poinsettia, Beef O’Brady, New Orleans and Hawaii bowls. Winners would go to the next round at the Citrus, Outback, Insight, Chick-Fil-A (Peach), Sun, Holiday, Alamo and Music City bowls, highest seed still in against lowest seed still battling, etc. Then, the quarterfinalists go to the Cotton, Las Vegas, Gator and Liberty bowls before advancing to the semifinals, then progressing to the Rose Bowl to crown a real champion, one decided on the field.
Players are missing class time anyway for midweek bowl games now, Thursday night TV games and a couple of playoff dates, or more, would be during school break time, so the academic argument would be even weaker than it now stands.
To me, it looks like problem solved, just waiting for adaptation.